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Will tape BULK ERASER erase a dead HD?

Posted on 2010-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have an unusable / dead hard drive. It is under warranty. I must return the defective drive. I do not want to leave my data on it naturally. I have a HEAVY DUTY a.c. operated bulk tape eraser that will completely wipe clean any audio tape or any video tape. I am wondering if I apply it to the exterior of my defective hard drive if it will erase the data? PLEASE ONLY ANSWER this question if you are 95% or more SURE that your answer is correct. I have my own opinion, but it is not based on fact. I need to be sure on this as most people would also be.
Question by:Need-a-Clue
LVL 95

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 225 total points
ID: 33550161
Most of the third paragraph from http://www.pcworld.com/article/116572/busting_the_biggest_pc_myths.html
"The only magnets powerful enough to scrub data from a drive platter are laboratory degaussers or those used by government agencies to wipe bits off media. "In the real world, people are not losing data from magnets," says Bill Rudock, a tech-support engineer with hard-drive maker Seagate. "In every disk," notes Rudock, "there's one heck of a magnet that swings the head.""

If the data is that sensitive you can't afford to have it even looked at accidentally, to heck with your warranty.  Hard Drives are $40-80 for most sizes up to 1 TB.  Just get a new one.
LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 225 total points
ID: 33550172
Here's an article that says it won't work: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/erasing-hard-drives/386  And here's a company that makes machine that will do it: http://www.datadev.com/degausser-hard-drive-data-security-erase.html  You don't want one of those in your house.  There is a reason that the 'remote control' is usable from 45 feet away...

LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 33550178
If it is strong enough and the magnetic field can pass the metal case of the drive, then yes, but since tapes usually only have plastic cases you don't need a very strong degausser for them, so it is possible that it isn't strong enough for an HD.
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 33550275
THANKS EVERYONE! Looks like I'll have to dig up another solution. Your research is appreciated. I WOULD buy  a new one BUT Dell wants their OWN drive back OR they charge incredibly inflated prices.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33550279
Soo... tell Dell forget it.  And go to newegg.com and buy a new drive.  They won't replace the existing one, but you won't have to worry about problems.
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 33550293
Or bore holes into the drive, or open it and scratch the surfaces of the platters, then send them back.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33550300
No, then they'll claim the drive was ruined by you and then charge you for it.

Expert Comment

ID: 33550304
The Sage is 100% correct (>95%). Physical destruction is the only way and is also the norm for regulated industries and the fact there are commercial entities that offer, at a price,  physical destruction of hard drives, tapes etc. is a testimonial to the above. You cannot count on anything else. Nothing.

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